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VOL. 37 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 26, 2013

Oil above $94 on US data, hope of EU rate cut

PABLO GORONDI, Associated Press

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The price of oil rose above $94 per barrel Monday as positive U.S. economic data added to optimism for a rate cut in Europe.

By midday in New York, benchmark crude for June delivery was up 90 cents to $93.90 a barrel, after earlier reaching $94.39.

The U.S. government said Americans spent more in March as their incomes went up. And pending home sales hit their highest level in three years. Traders also think the European Central Bank will cut its benchmark interest rate from the current record low of 0.75 percent to 0.50 percent, in a further attempt to turn around the economy there.

A weaker dollar also helped boost oil prices by making crude priced in dollars cheaper for traders using other currencies. On Monday, the euro was up to $1.3082 from $1.3065 late Friday in New York.

Drivers are still shelling out fewer dollars at the gas pump compared with a year ago. The national average for a gallon of regular is $3.50, compared with $3.82 on this date last year.

Brent crude, which is used to price oil from the North Sea used by many U.S. refiners, was up 24 cents to $103.40 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $2.82 a gallon.

— Heating oil was flat at $2.86 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 13 cents to $4.36.